New technology from Japanese display makers Sharp and Japan Display, and South Korean manufacturer LG Display, is said to have reduced the number of displays in the Apple smartphone by half.
Rather than layering a touch panel over a display, the new screens have combined the “touch sensors into the LCD, making it unnecessary to have a separate touch-screen layer”, The Wall Street Journal reported.
The three manufacturers of the 2012 iPhone’s display “are currently mass producing panels for the next iPhone using so-called in-cell technology”, it said.
Apple was recently granted a display patent that documents a lighter, thinner, brighter and more power-savvy display, using “multi-function circuit elements” that generate the display’s images as well as forming part of the touch-sensing circuitry.
“Circuit elements in the display pixel stackups can be grouped together to form touch sensing circuitry that senses a touch on or near the display,” Patently Apple said on July 10.
The WSJ believes the new display will save “about half-a-millimetre” of space which, when compared to the 9.3mm-thick iPhone 4S, is considerable and will save on manufacturing costs.
“For Apple, the new technology would also simplify the supply chain and help cut costs as it would no longer need to buy touch panels and LCD panels from separate suppliers,” the WSJ said.
However, the new displays are harder to make, which may affect the availability of the smartphone set to launch in September.
Patently Apple stated that a “display with integrated touch sensing capability may be manufactured using fewer parts and/or processing steps, and the display itself may be thinner, brighter, and require less power”. If the new reports are correct, it may be this recently patented display that Apple is integrating into its next-generation iPhone.